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Beating the heat: Where the cool spots are

Beating the heat: Where the cool spots are



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SALT LAKE CITY -- A lot of us are hoping to catch a break from some pretty intense heat along the Wasatch Front this holiday weekend. So, where are the best places to do this?

At or near 100 degrees outside: That's what we're expecting for Thursday and Friday. To beat the heat, many people will be heading to nearby parks, but some parks may not be as cool as others.

"For example, if you have a large area of concrete to the south of one of these parks and you get a south breeze, it's going to be blowing that hot air off all this concrete or blacktop. For example, asphalt heats up extremely rapidly. It could blow that right into the park," explained National Weather Service meteorologist Randy Graham.

Of course, temperature is determined by many factors, including elevation, vegetation and even the color of the pavement. But Graham says a big determining factor is the presence of water.

"If you have a large amount of water in the near vicinity on a summer day, if you're near that water, it's going to most like be cooler," he said.

**30-year average temps. for July 22**
LocationTemperature
Alpine89.0 F
Alta69.2 F
Bountiful87.5 F
Brigham City90.6 F
Brighton71 F
Bryce Canyon77.8 F
Cedar City88.2 F
Cottonwood Heights89.2 F
Deer Creek84.8 F
Farmington90.4 F
Flaming Gorge84.7 F
Huntsville86.5 F
Logan87.1 F
Moab99.4 F
Mountain Dell Dam85.8 F
Near Kennecott88.7 F
Ogden90.3 F
Orem88.2 F
Pleasant Grove88.1 F
Point of the Mountain92.4 F
Provo91.5 F
St. George100.8 F
Salt Lake City90.9 F
Sundance87.1 F
Timpanogos Cave89.1 F
Wanship84.7 F

Graham says the water will evaporate and cool the air. So, a water park without trees might be nearly as cool as Pioneer Park. Instead of a local park, some people may head to the mouths of City Creek or Parley's canyons for those canyon winds. Well, that's not always a good idea.

"During the day, as the valley heats up, the [warm] wind actually starts to flow up the canyon," Graham said.

If you travel through the canyon to higher elevation, you'll feel a cool down. For example, the Utah Climate Center says the 30-year average temperature for the day July 22 is 91 degrees for Salt Lake City, but 69 at Alta and 71 at Brighton.

All things being equal, the shady spots will be the coolest. So, where are the shady spots?

Well, in Salt Lake City, Kevin Bell with the Transportation Division says there are a lot of them on the east side reaching from the Avenues to Tanner Park.

"They're older neighborhoods, so they're very well-shaded and mature landscapes," Bell said.

City officials have a three-dimensional map of Salt Lake using a tool called Lidar. It's like radar, only it uses reflected light instead of radio waves.

With that map, Bell says they've been able to map out which areas get the most sun and the most shade.

"Road cycling or mountain biking in City Creek Canyon is a real nice after-work event if you're looking for a place to escape the heat. You have the river running down which cools the area off. You also have all of the trees there," Bell said.

He says Liberty Park is well-shaded with a water source, making it cool place on a hot day. Other parks didn't look quite the same.

"It looks like [there is] a lot of sunlight at Sugarhouse Park, although there is a small creek that runs through Sugarhouse Park," Bell said.

Plus, it has a large pond, which cools it down.

By the way, if you plan to drive to Southern Utah, Cedar City may be surprisingly cool compared to other southern cities. Using 30-year averages from the Utah Climate Center for the day July 22, Cedar City is about 12 degrees cooler than St. George.

CLICK HERE for more details on the temperatures where you live.

E-mail: pnelson@ksl.com

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Paul Nelson

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